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Interspecific Communication Between Ants

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With the help of field experiments, the nonantagonistic relations and exchange of information among ants of various species occupying similar ecological niches were studied. Formica pratensis and F. cunicularia glauca, respectively dominant and subdominant in their associations, were chosen as the model pair. The dominant has a defended territory with a clearly defined secondary division. The feeding territory of the subdominant is organized to the type of individual foraging. The use of labyrinths with bait hidden in them showed that the subdominants are more enterprising foragers; when interacting with the dominant they play the role of scouts. The amount of prey of F. pratensis is so dependent on the presence of F. cunicularia that when the nests of this species are isolated, the F. pratensis bring three times less prey. The basis for the interaction of the foragers of different species is interspecific kinopsis and distant training.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratory of Ecology of Gregarious and Social Insects, Institute of Biology, Siberian Branch, Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk, U.S.S.R

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